Pre-Anesthesia Information

Why is pre-anesthetic testing important?
Although anesthesia and surgery today are very safe, some risks still exist. By performing a physical examination and conducting some simple tests before putting your pet under anesthesia, your veterinarian can minimize those risks even further. Our pets can’t talk to us and tell us when they are not feeling well. Often, the only way we can find out something is wrong is through diagnostic testing. If something subtle is wrong, your doctors want to know before surgery. Then, steps can be taken to reduce potential complications. The anesthetic protocol can be adjusted, or treatment for the medical condition can be started before surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia.

What can pre-anesthetic testing uncover?
Testing can identify many pre-existing conditions that may pose a significant health risk to your pet. These conditions include heart, liver, and kidney problems or systemic diseases such as diabetes or cancer. Testing may also determine if your pet has a clotting abnormality that could cause a problem during surgery. These tests will help ensure that your pet does not have additional risk factors that could complicate anesthesia and surgery.

When will my veterinarian get the results?
The blood work can be conducted in house or sent out to a lab 2 days to 2 weeks prior to the appointment. The veterinarian will be able to see any abnormalities before putting your pet under anesthesia.

Albumin- This is a protein produced by the liver. An abnormal result can help identify a problem with the liver, kidneys, or intestines.
Alkaline Phosphatase- Higher-than-normal results of this test can indicate a problem with liver function.
ALT- This is a more sensitive test for liver damage.
BUN- High levels of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) can indicate a problem with the kidneys; low levels may indicate a problem with liver function.
Creatinine- This test is extremely valuable in determining how well the kidneys are functioning.
Globulin- This is a component of total protein checking for underlying chronic illness and some types of cancer.
Glucose- If this number is too low, a pet is considered to be hypoglycemic; too high, and the pet is hyperglycemic. Hypoglycemia is a common problem in puppies as well as in animals with liver damage. Hyperglycemia can result from stress, excitement, and diabetes.
PT and PTT- These tests evaluate your pet’s blood-clotting system. This information is very important before surgery.
Total Protein- This test checks for dehydration.
*This information was reproduced with permission from Antech Diagnostics.

More Information on Preanesthetic bloodwork and anesthesia risks.
For more bloodwork information, visit the VCA’s page on Preanesthetic bloodwork